Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is one of the oldest cities in the US. It’s a hub for sports fans, students, and innovation. Moreover, this city is a popular choice among house hunters.
That being said, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of living in Boston before you ultimately decide to move there. Look no further than our complete relocation guide, which will cover the following topics:
- About Boston
- The Climate
- The Best Boston Suburbs and Neighborhoods
- Employment in Boston
- Cost of Living in Boston, Massachusetts
- Attractions In and Around Boston
- Food and Restaurants in Boston
- How to Get There - Moving to Boston
- Is Boston a Good Place to Live? Final Thoughts
The city was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, England.
During the American Revolution which took place in the 18th century, Boston witnessed many landmark historical events such as the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, and the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Nowadays, Boston’s rich history and legacy has made it a popular destination for tourists, who visit the city to learn about its past.
Boston is also a stomping ground for sports fans of the Red Sox baseball team, the Celtics basketball team, and Bruins ice hockey team.
With a population of approximately 700,000 people, the largest city in New England is a leading light in higher education. It’s home to Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
When it comes to weather, Bostonians will tell you that you’ll experience two seasonal extremes: summers tend to be hot and humid, while winters are typically cold and stormy.
In July, the city’s hottest month, temperatures reach averages of 73.4 °F (23.0 °C). That being said, the ideal months for more pleasant temperatures are in early or late summer, such as May, June, or September. At this time of year, residents tend to flock to the nearby beaches. These are just a short drive from Boston.
While fall is a visually-striking season in Boston, temperatures during the winter months can drop to averages of 29.0 °F (−1.7 °C) in January. Average rainfall in the city is around 43.8 inches (1,110 mm) of precipitation a year, which turns into an average of 43.8 inches (111 cm) of snowfall in the winter.
The Best Boston Suburbs and Neighborhoods
As we mentioned earlier in our guide to living in Boston, the city’s neighborhoods differ immensely from area to area. So keep in mind that choosing which sector you are going to live in the city is likely one of the key decisions you will make.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Beacon Hill - Are you after a quaint, Instagram-friendly neighborhood to call your new home? Well, the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, combined with its period houses and antique shops, could be the perfect place for you to begin your new house hunt.
- South End - Have you been dreaming of living in a traditional Boston brownstone building? The terraced, brownstone houses of South End are a popular option for families looking to make this neighborhood their new home.
- North End - This historically Italian neighborhood is home to the best cannoli and pasta dishes in the city, which -- combined with the old, historical buildings and narrow streets -- guarantee a steady influx of tourists to this part of town.
- Allston - Searching for a more lively neighborhood with a fun student vibe? The impressive street art and live music venues of Allston are why the area is home to many of Boston’s college students and young professionals, who hang out in the neighborhood’s restaurants and beer gardens.
If you’re looking to be close to Boston but also escape the densely populated city, you should cross the Charles River and explore the nearby cities and suburbs.
- Somerville - This trendy, Cambridge-based neighborhood fits the bill if you are searching for a place to live with an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, and beer gardens. This Boston suburb is mostly home to young professionals, the majority of whom rent their homes.
- Hull - Do you like the idea of commuting into Boston by ferry? Located on a peninsula of Boston harbor, this seaside town offers a sea breeze and relatively cheap family homes.
- Plymouth - Steeped in colonial history, Plymouth is the town where New England was first established in 1620. About an hour’s drive away from Boston itself, this harborside town is home to a mixture of old, historical houses and new-builds.
Employment in Boston
Although finding a job in Boston can be challenging because of the amount of skilled workers who live in the city, it has one of the biggest urban economies in the US. This means that there are still jobs out there.
The biggest non-farming employers in Boston are the education and health services sectors. After that, it’s professional and business services, and then trade work, transportation, and utilities.
That being said, unemployment rates in Boston city are higher than the national average. In September 2020, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics recorded the unemployment rate at 18.1%.
Cost of Living in Boston, Massachusetts
Boston has one of the highest overall costs of living in the US, and this is mostly down to its house prices.
On average, the cost of living is 48% higher than the national average. This is based on the cost of housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation.
In Boston city the average home value will set you back $644,743, however, that price goes down slightly if you’re prepared to move into a house outside the city and in the metropolitan area. The average rent will cost you $2,249 a month.
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Attractions In and Around Boston
There are many ways to pass the time in Boston, Massachusetts. Here’s just a handful of things you can get up to in Beantown.
- Freedom Trail - This three-mile route around Boston takes you past 16 of the city’s historical monuments and sites. The path, marked by red bricks on the sidewalks and footprints at street crossings, is easy to follow and booking a tour isn’t necessary.
- Public Garden - If the weather is nice, head over to the city’s Public Garden. Here you’ll find a fleet of iconic pontoon Swan Boats that’ve been taking passengers for trips around the Public Garden pond since 1877.
- Fenway Park - Home to the legendary Boston Red Sox baseball team, this stadium is the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. Be sure to head there to watch a game!
- Harvard University - Just outside of Boston, in Cambridge, lies the US’ oldest higher education institution and leading world-renowned academic research center, Harvard University. A typical afternoon plan tends to involve taking a walk around Harvard Square and the Harvard Art Museums.
In the Boston surrounding area, there are also many ways you can spend your weekends.
- Portsmouth - Around an hour north of Boston, on the coast of New Hampshire, you can find one of America’s oldest seaport cities, Portsmouth. Explore its museums to find out more about the city’s history or simply enjoy its boutique shops and restaurants.
- Shining Sea Bikeway - For lovers of outdoor activities, head out of the city to Cape Cod and try this 22-mile bike trail built on Old Colony Railroad which goes all the way down to the ferry terminal where ships depart.
- Blue Hills Reservation - South of Boston, hiking fans can get lost in the 125 miles of trails in the Blue Hills Reservation, home to the iconic Great Blue Hill, where you can find panoramic views of Boston’s metropolitan area.
Food and Restaurants in Boston
If there’s anything you must try upon moving to the city, it’s Boston’s baked beans. A variety of different beans sweetened with molasses, together with salty pork or bacon. These hearty beans are sure to set your taste buds tingling.
Given the city’s proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean, other classic Boston dishes include seafood dishes such as clam chowder and lobster rolls. And of course, if you’re asking why you should move to Boston, the city’s rich Italian history means that it’s home to some of the best Italian desserts in the US. Some of the best cannoli bakeries in Boston include Bova’s Bakery, Mike’s Pastry, and Parziale’s Bakery.
How to Get There - Moving to Boston
Wondering how to move to Boston? Well you need not worry, as getting to the city is relatively stress-free.
- By plane - Boston is home to the Boston Logan International Airport -- located just three miles from downtown -- as well as Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Worcester Regional Airport, both of which are around 50 miles from Boston itself.
- By train - Boston has three intercity rail stations, all of which serve AMTRAK and MBTA commuter rail trains.
- By bus - The following bus companies travel to Boston: Boston Deluxe C&J, Concord Coach Lines, Fung Wah Bus Transportation, Greyhound Bus Lines, LimoLiner, Lucky Star Bus, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Plymouth & Brockton, megabus.com, BoltBus, and World Wide Bus.
- By car - Boston has two major highways entering it: the I-93 and the I-90. The I-95 encircles Boston, but does not enter the city.
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Is Boston a Good Place to Live? Final Thoughts
Despite Boston’s elevated cost of living, the city has previously been ranked eighth on the US News & World Report list of best places to live in the US.
While Boston itself is big, it doesn’t feel so when you live there, hence why the report compared it to a “small town with the perks of city life.”
So, are you still weighing up the pros and cons of living in Boston? Well there’s only one thing to do: get over there and find out for yourself!